Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Guitar Practicing Tips

Hi this is Tom, and welcome to my blog on all things guitar! I’ve been playing the guitar for a long time, and thought I should finally try my hand at writing about it too.

One of the first things I’d like to speak about on my new blog is the importance of practice, especially as a guitar players.

Practicing the guitar is essential. Practicing the instrument regularly can help you become a great guitar player, and on paper practice sessions should be fun and enjoyable, right? Wrong! I don’t mean to put you off or anything but as you may (or may not) have found out by now, practicing the guitar and learning to play the instrument is anything but a walk in the park!

Learning the guitar, and getting good at it actually requires a fair amount of hard work, perseverance, determination and patience.

Here are some guitar practicing and learning tips that I’ve learnt over the years:

1. It is essential to develop a guitar-practice regime/routine

Without a guitar practicing regime, it can get extremely difficult to learn the guitar and get better at it. The keywords here are ‘practicing regularly’ – regularity when it comes to practicing is essential, and all your practice sessions should be designed to improve certain skills, or work on techniques that enable you to become a better guitar player. Above all, guitar practicing should never be (or become) a chore. Take breaks, and if need be, take a step back, slow things down and try to have fun during your practice sessions. Try enlisting the help of a good guitar instructor if you want!

2. Set short- and long-term goals

Setting goals is important with just about anything you do in life – and that includes learning the guitar as well. Goals help you stay on track, and remains focused – long-term goals determine what kind of a musician or an artist you see yourself becoming, while short-term goals are typically daily, weekly or monthly ‘achievables’ (things that you might want to learn, stuff that you may want to work on or improve upon, techniques which you want to master and so on), which are the stepping stones to get you to your long-term goal(s). The great thing about setting goals is that they are realistic and achievable milestones, and provide you with a sense of accomplishment as well.

3. Practice with a guitar teacher

Every professional musician worth his salt would almost always recommend guitar players to get guidance from, and play with a qualified and experienced guitar teacher or coach. Perhaps Tom Hess, an experienced musician and a guitar teacher put it best himself when he said that “Even though a lot of information [on learning the guitar] is readily available, there exists a lot of incorrect, incomplete and otherwise bad information. You will need the aid of an excellent teacher to teach you how to fully understand and apply the correct information. You can save yourself a lot of unnecessary frustration and disappointment by studying with the good teacher.” That emphasizes the importance of a guitar teacher quite nicely, and I don’t think anything else needs to be said.

4. Turn to online sources of practicing and playing the guitar

The internet is just brilliant, right? I didn’t have access to stuff like Google and Youtube when I first picked up the guitar, but now, anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can find just about all sorts of information and guides about all things guitar on the web – from buying guides, to guitar lessons... heck, you can even pick up guitars and guitar accessories online way before they hit the stores! But I digress, the point that I’m trying to make here is that it’s become extremely simple and easy to find information on the internet, and the internet is and all that it has to offer can be of immense benefit to beginner/novice guitar players as well.

5. Always warm-up before a guitar-practicing session

The importance of warming up before playing the guitar simply cannot be overstated! Playing the guitar puts a lot of stress and pressure on certain parts of your body – especially certain joints and bones in your arms and fingers. Athletes and people who play sports warm-up before putting their body under pressure and strain, as it helps them become more nimble, loosen-up and perform in a better manner. In the same way, it is important for guitar players to warm-up by stretching their joints and muscles. Simple warm-up exercises such as stretching your arms and fingers before picking up the guitar, as well as warming-up once you do pick up the guitar, is essential. Doing so will allow you to play at optimum levels and put in a great performance (or a practice session).

Your Turn

What makes up your guitar practicing regime or routine? What guitar practicing tips would you want to share with everyone? Leave us a comment in the comments section below!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

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